Passerini has just won the prize for Best Chef 2017 in this year’s Fooding® Awards, and as the restaurant is quick to reach from our hotels (10 minutes in a taxi), we just had to go down and sample their wonders…
Here’s our review.
Their award is what spurred us to cross the Seine and check out Passerini – a restaurant that makes its own fresh pasta and offers resolutely modern Italian cuisine.
The restaurant is on a street corner with large windows and lots of natural light. Interior design is sober and slightly retro, harking back to classic venues of yesteryear.
We found the space to be a little cold (both in style and temperature – the toilets were freezing!) and with all those, solid flat surfaces, noise levels rise dramatically as the place fills up (and believe us, it does). Luckily there’s a good amount of room between each table, and we didn’t feel crowded at all.
The restaurant offers a different experience at lunchtime – with specific fixed price menus – and in the evening, which is à la carte, although there is a 140€ menu for sharing four dishes with a friend.
On Saturday evenings, the concept changes again. Passerini become a no-reservation Enoteca where you can taste fine wines and sample small dishes. Each you haven’t managed to book a table during the week (the times you can call are noted at the bottom of this article), turning up on a Saturday night is a good impromptu alternative.
We however had managed to book a table for lunch. The fixed priced menus range from 24€ (starter + pasta) to 30€ (starter + pasta + dessert). If you’re really hungry, there’s also a 48€ option with a starter, pasta, main course and a dessert. For one of us, this was a challenge not to be passed up 😋
And as the restaurant is proud to be different, we decided to take large bottle of beer instead of wine. It’s unfiltered, non pasteurised and mostly organic. Served with as much respect and explanation as any good wine would, it’s also a good way of keeping the bill under control (our large bottle cost 14€).
The menu changes every day depending on what’s fresh at the market, and there’s a limited choice for each course (three starters, three pasta dishes, just one main and just one dessert / cheese).
The day of our visit, we started with smoked beetroot, mozzarella, radicchio and olives, and a second dish of squid in ink, split pea passata and rapini (broccoli raab).
The smokey flavour of the beetroot was very surprising and agreeable, and the mozzarella was generously served. Although the vegetable puree in the dish was fairly neutral (deliberately?) the dish was spectacularly presented and decorated with little mustard flowers. Wow.
As for the squid, it combined very well with the pea passata, with most of the taste coming from the ink. Again, beautifully presented.
For the past course, we went for the linguine with cockles, smoked mackerel and leek, and the raviolis del Pastificio with red kuri squash, bottarga and parmesan.
You could really taste that everything is homemade. The sauce accompanying the linguine was thick, heavily perfumed by the seafood and packed with garlic.
The ravioli did not disappoint either. The squash filling had light citrus notes, and the sprinkling of bottarga and parmesan made everything extra tasty. A great combination.
To be honest, the extra fish dish we had ordered – monkfish, Jerusalem artichoke and mint puree, cabbage and seaweed/oyster vinaigrette – wasn’t strictly necessary, but we made the extra effort just for you!
The monkfish was firm to the point of feeling almost undercooked, but the Jerusalem artichoke was great and the cabbage perfect in its special vinaigrette. Perhaps better appreciated by not partaking in one of the pasta dishes?
As we said, the choice of dessert is simple – there’s only one (although you can have a cheese plate instead should you so wish). Our pear was served with hazelnut ice cream, chocolate with raspberries and a financier cake.
The subtle taste of the pear melded well with the chocolate (a classic combination, it has to be said), the ice cream was perfect and we really enjoyed the homemade financier (also hazelnut).
With a little espresso to finish off, our enjoyable time at Passerini came to an end!
If you like inventive Italian food with interesting combinations of tastes manages with aplomb, Passerini will not disappoint, and the lunch menu is practically a bargain.
Passerini (here) is open for lunch from Wednesday-Saturday and dinner from Tuesday-Friday
Also open Saturday evening – no reservations – starting 7.30pm for tapas and wine
Book by telephone on +33 (0)1 43 42 27 56 but only on Tuesdays from 4-6pm, or Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10am-midday and 4-6pm
To check out all our photos of Passerini in Paris, click the four little arrow at the bottom of the image below, or simply click here.
Created with flickr embed.